JEDDAH — The first Saudi Firefighter Challenge kicked off here on Sunday evening. Organized by 911 Fire Fighting & Occupational Safety Training in cooperation with Saudi-based Herz International, the competition was inaugurated by Dr. Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah Al-Khudairi, undersecretary of the Emirate of Makkah region, and Maj. Gen. Jameel Arbaeen, director of Makkah Civil Defense.
The challenge features more than 60 firefighters from across the Makkah region who made their way from Makkah, Jeddah, Taif and Rabigh.
Terming the competition as "very interesting," Al-Khudairi hoped to see more such events in order to raise awareness, educate the community and assist people in reacting meticulously in case of fires and accidents.
In front of a large number of spectators at the Red Sea Mall lot, competitors went head to head wearing full bunker gear and self-contained breathing apparatus as they simulated what they may encounter in a real life or death situation.
On its first day, the challenge turned into a race against time simulating the six essential tasks of firefighting and rescue: stair climb, hose hoist, forced entry, running, pulling the hose and rescuing the victims.
Hatim Ali Muharaq, GM of Herz International, organizer of the event said: “It’s exciting, it’s fun. Firefighters are some of the most competitive people in the world and through this event we hope that people come and see how firefighters perform in reality.”
Muharaq pointed out that the participants have been training for months to prepare for the competition. “Firefighter Challenge is a series of timed firefighting tasks commonly performed in emergency situations,” he said. He described it as a test of strength and determination.
Professional participants, including fire fighters, security officers, rescuers and emergency responders are taking part in the thrilling event aimed at developing firefighter skills.
The competition is being supported by the Civil Defense and it tests the fire fighting and rescue skills commonly faced by responders during emergency situations.